When life gets difficult, I’m the type of person who goes ghost. Not with those nearest to me, but my online presence all but disappears. I learned in the early days of social media, not everyone is there to lift you up so much as they’re waiting to watch you fall.
As a born storyteller, it’s built into my DNA to want to express myself. If I’m happy, I shout it from the rooftops. If I’m not, I’ll whisper it from the depths of depression. I’ve been ‘in my feelings’ since before Drake was in a wheelchair on Degrassi.
But with social media, this isn’t always a good thing. Sure, the little avatars represent actual people, but not always good intentions. When we didn’t have social media, it forced people to say the things they needed to say in person. Now, hiding behind a keyboard has made people a lot bolder. It gives them the courage to say things they likely wouldn’t if it was a person-to-person conversation.
When the election was impending, I left Facebook early on. Politics are part of life, but I choose not to discuss them with people who live in an echo chamber. I’ve seen relationships destroyed and lives ruined over political discourse, and I refuse to be a part of that. Standing up for what you believe is right and just doesn’t always win friends and influence people. More often than not, it causes stress and strife.
In December, after life-altering events hit my life, I went back to Facebook. I didn’t miss the drama, but I found I missed some connections with people. I was away for five months and what I found was, out of 200 plus so-called friends, only a handful even realized I left.
Everyone gets busy. Life has a funny way of putting things you think are important on the back burner. But no one is so busy they can’t reach out to someone they consider a friend and check-in.
I don’t expect to be at the forefront of many people’s minds regularly. I’m not a narcissist. I may expect too much, but when someone I consider a friend disappears for months at a time, I reach out and make sure they’re okay. Especially when it’s someone I know in everyday life, not just online.
Social media breaks are important to take. Not only do we need to disconnect sometimes and decompress, but it’s also a way to trim the fat. Do we need to follow 200 plus (or more) people in our personal lives? Do we have the capacity to care about so many people who don’t even realize when we’re not around? Staying connected to those we love is important, but do we need to know what John Q. Public had for dinner every night this week?
I don’t think so.
The adage of keeping our friends close, but our enemies closer is something that needs to go by the wayside. Rather than follow every Tom, Dick, and Harriet who requests access to our lives, wouldn’t it be better to cut our interactions and foster better relationships with those we’re close to?
You really can have too many ‘friends’. I’m more content with the 50 I whittled my list down to than the 200 of before. And before it’s all said and done, I’ll probably cut that in half. Be careful to whom you give unrestricted access to your life. Keep your friends close and don’t even bother with the enemies.